Malta Fashion Week 2016 : New Designers

Malta Fashion Week 2016 has officially kicked off . Whilst all other events are being held at Fort St Angelo, the first one was held on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, bang in the Middle of Republic Street in Valletta. This was really an excellent way to kick off the week – the show attracted crowds of onlookers and really sent out the message – Hey y’all it’s FASHION WEEK BABY.

As the title of the post relays, the first show was the New Designers. Let me start by saying that there was a huge leap in improvement since last year – the quality of the work exhibited was a lot higher. However – yep there’s always a ‘however’, there is one criticism I must make across the board and this is mainly to do with the presentation.  I am sure that we all agree that there is no point in creating pieces of art and exhibiting them in an ill-fitting showcase. The same rule applies in fashion. Something went wrong in the model-fitting process – too many models wore clothes that did not fit right. Some pieces were too big, some clung in the wrong places and some just did not suit the model in question. If you have too much to focus on to be able to give the fittings their due attention or need a second pair of eyes, it might be a good idea to get someone to help you out.

Lukka (above and below) – Lukka was up first and his showcase was a huge improvement over last year. There was more of a flowing theme to his exhibit even in his use of blue damask fabric throughout. It was a Winter collection that he chose to present. I believe that this was his first attempt at designing menswear and it is clearly where his strengths lie.  A kimono-style wrap around jacket worn by model Matthew Caruana was universally liked by the crowd – maybe the most specifically mentioned piece. As regards the womenswear,  the biggest problem was that the pieces were plainly too large for the girls – since the fabric is heavy, the emptiness was made even more evident as they walked past. Unfortunately, this led to some of the pieces feeling slightly aged. I really hope that Lukka decides to focus on menswear in the years to come. I was surprised when I realised that this was his very first attempt, there were some really good ideas and I’d be really eager to see what he could do if he focused all his energy on this.
Next up was Giulia Pandolfino swimwear (below). I loved this. The swimwear is excellently made, and interestingly designed – it really felt like a completely finished product. A big thumbs up and I really hope that this product is actually launched as a sellable product, The purple swimsuit worn by model Mandy was my absolute favourite.

Maria Cutajar (above and below) – Maria is an interesting designer, she presented an experimental collection titled Summer Breeze – obviously inspired by summer. I like how she experimented with different fabrics and ideas but still kept everything bound together, focused on the same theme. What I felt in some cases though was that some pieces lacked refinement, the product did not feel as finished as it should have. It could mainly be a question of time too, I can imagine that sometimes, it might not be easy finding the time to develop ideas onto the catwalk especially if the designer is also attempting to sew the pieces.

Nathan Micallef (above and below) – this 20-year-old student is clearly going places. He has great ideas and is not afraid to present something new. He presented a Winter collection that’s both simultaneously fun and interesting. It is also a highly sellable collection. The coat worn by model Jessica Vella was probably my favourite piece in the entire show and that backpack..well now that would definitely be something that I would find a place for within my wardrobe.
Malcolm Cremona (below) – Matthew’s ideas to use inspirational messages and to stick to black and white were good ones – both are general crowd pleasers and I know many people loved the idea of inspiring clothes. However, I felt there were two main issues here – first of all, the clothes did not flatter the model’s bodies most times. Secondly, there was simply too much going on in some of the pieces – lace / glitz / words / sports influence. He needed to step back and evaluate what he wanted to focus on. I think that part of the problem might have been that his original design led to transparent pieces which would have been difficult to exhibit at this catwalk. He might have then tried to add ‘extras’ to solve the transparent issue but this led to some design confusion. 
Marie Ahoy (below) – Marie’s black theme ran throughout the entire collection. I liked her choice of music and loved the interesting makeup but unfortunately, none of the clothes she presented excited or inspired me. Her designs felt a bit like something a DIY show would exhibit. I did not feel like I was watching a designed fashion collection. It seemed very much as though a few ready-to-wear black pieces had simply been customised with holes in different places and that was it. 

Gabrielle Fenech (above and below) – The title of this collection is ‘Pipyat’ – inspired by the story of Chernobyl. The models wearing gas masks earned a few gasps and murmurs from the crowd but so did the delightful dress above and the great tailoring and styling ideas. I really enjoyed watching this collection and was probably the one where the different pieces fit the models best. She is clearly open to experimentation and not afraid to take some risks – well done girl.
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